EAST AURORA, N.Y. (AP) ¿ Astronics Corp., which makes lighting and electronics systems for the aerospace industry, said Monday its first-quarter profit tumbled 47 percent because of cost-cutting measures prompted by weaker demand. Net income dropped to $1.4 million, or 13 cents per share, for the three months ended April 4. That compared with $2.6 million, or 25 cents per share, in the year-earlier period. The results included two months of financial results from DME Corp., which was acquired by Astronics on Jan. 30. The acquired company designs and makes weapons and communications test equipment, among other products. Sales rose 22 percent to $50 million from $41.1 million during the first quarter of 2008. Sales for Astronics' aerospace business grew 2 percent to $41.8 million, while its test systems segment ¿ which represents a portion of the DME business ¿ had sales of $8.2 million. Excluding the DME acquisition, Astronics reported sales of $38.4 million for the quarter. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, who typically exclude one-time items from their estimates, expected a higher profit of 29 cents per share on revenue of $56 million.
"While we achieved a record sales level in the first quarter, we faced a very difficult environment at the same time," Peter J. Gundermann, Astronics' president and chief executive, said in a statement. "While we achieved a record sales level in the first quarter, we faced a very difficult environment at the same time." Some of the company's biggest customers cut production plans during the quarter, resulting in lower demand for Astronics' products, he said. That put pressure on the company's earnings, "and we have responded accordingly by cutting costs and aligning ourselves more appropriately to customer expectations." "We believe that conditions will strengthen as the year progresses and as cost-saving adjustments made in the first quarter play out," Gundermann added. Citing weaker demand, Astronics cut its 2009 revenue outlook to $210 million to $225 million from $230 million to $245 million. Analysts expect revenue of $232.8 million. Shares of Astronics fell 99 cents, or 9.1 percent, to $9.90 in afternoon trading.